May 20, 2014

Born Again: BET Bringing Back “Celebration Of Gospel”

Tamela Mann

The people have spoken and their voices were apparently heard! AlwaysAList.com is happy to report that BET has had a change of heart as it pertains to their annual special “Celebration of Gospel.

After being bombarded with calls to its main phone line and emails to its website, in addition to high-ranking executives at the company being called by many of Gospel’s top tier artists, BET will not move forward with canceling “Celebration of Gospel” even after previously deciding to end the franchise.

On May 1, AlwaysAList.com reported that BET had opted to cancel the yearly special despite its stellar ratings and it being the number one gospel/religious telecast on TV for 14 consecutive years.

“American Idol” winner Candice Glover


READ: The Benediction: BET Cancels “Celebration Of Gospel” 


Apparently, BET’s previous decision to cancel “COG” was strictly based on the show “not being profitable,” as it was explained by one BET executive who spoke to us anonymously.

“It was simple, the sales team said they couldn’t sell the show because it was a gospel show and without those big sponsorships, the show cost money to produce but didn’t make money for the network,” the source elaborated. “But BET never imagined ending this show would cause the outcry that it received from the viewing public and have decided to see if they can make things work.”

AlwaysAList.com was told several months before the airing of the 2014 “COG” in early April that the special was being cancelled. Things were solidified at BET’s upfront presentation to advertisers in New York when the show was omitted as one of the network’s returning “Mega-Specials.”

Erica Campbell

In a follow-up document serviced to the media following the upfronts, the show was nixed from the production lineup as well.

Apparently, BET was overwhelmed by the backlash for cancelling its top-rated salute to gospel.  Privately the network started telling several artists that the show was omitted from the upfront presentation because “it was moved to a new month.” However, the award show special “Black Girls Rock” has also been moved to a new month but was still highlighted for advertisers and the media at the upfronts.


READ: Split Apart: Has BET Canceled “Let’s Stay Together?” 


While a concrete date has not been solidified for “COG,” a new production schedule issued to employees late last week has the show slated to tape in September/October 2015.

BET originally taped “COG” each December and aired it in February for Black History Month. In 2012, the show started taping in March so that it could air in April closer to Easter.

With “COG” now scheduled to tentatively tape in late fall next year, it would likely air around Thanksgiving.

Le’Andria Johnson, Kem & Eddie Levert



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